Even though it is the capital of Tenerife, Santa Cruz often gets missed out by many tourists on holidays to Tenerife simply because it’s up at the northern end of the island and most of the popular resorts are down towards the southern end. The resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos, to name just two, are busy, lively places with enough to keep most visitors to the island occupied for the whole of their stay, which is perhaps why more don’t venture north. This is both good and bad.
Bad because it means so many are missing out of the more Spanish flavour of the town, and good because it means that the area gets to retain more of its Canarian character. It’s a refreshing change if you love to experience a more native culture when you go abroad than the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the larger holiday resorts.
The history of Santa Cruz reaches right back to the 15th century and it was here that Nelson was defeated in 1797. If you want to step back in time and see the places that helped make history and shape part of the world as we now know it, Santa Cruz should be on your radar. It may not be the most beautiful of cities, but the variety of architectural styles the reflect the history of the place. You’ll see everything from quaint fishermen’s cottages to the most imposing of mansions.
The climate, nearly always warm and sunny, makes for outdoor living and you’ll find plenty of plazas and parks where locals enjoy the social side of living in such a pleasant climate. One place to make sure you don’t miss is Parque Garcia Sanabria, where you can wander beneath exotic greenery and listen to the squawking of the parrots that fly wild in the treetops. In many of the open spaces, colourful and cheering Mediterranean-style tiles decorate pools and fountains, completing the sense of immersion in the Spanish culture.
It’s not all nature and outdoor spaces though. Tapas bars sit alongside chic restaurants. Head over to the Noria district to experience and eclectic mix of restaurants in both contemporary and traditional styles. This area tends to be on the expensive side, and there’s an equally interesting selection at La Rambla if you’re feeling in an exploring mood. The nightlife, too, is more authentically Spanish than that found further south. In and around Santa Cruz and La Laguna you’ll find a good live music selection in atmospheric bars offering everything from a relaxing place for locals to enjoy a drink after work to late night rooftop parties. Holidays to Tenerife are unique in that you have a whole world of tourist entertainment sitting right alongside traditional local customs and culture. You’re free to choose what kind of atmosphere you want on a daily basis, and that can’t be bad when you’re building holiday memories that will last a lifetime.